Spring and new beginnings

Peter Wiebe set the bar extremely high as the inaugural conductor of the Windsor Symphony Youth Orchestra.

There wasn’t a better choice than Wiebe when former maestro John Morris Russell established the WSYO and its junior division in 2004. A father of six musicians, a skilled performer, and a veteran music educator, Wiebe knew what strings to pull when dealing with young people.

He also supported his wife, Ruth, herself an accomplished musician, in home-schooling their kids up until high school.

As most of his children are now pursuing their own careers and moving away from the family home, it was time for Wiebe to take a breather. He remains the WSO associate conductor and occasional cellist. Judging by a recent post on Facebook, he and Ruth have travel plans in the offing, presumably to the world’s musical meccas.

Wiebe’s final appearance on the podium for the WSYO will take place May 13 at the Capitol Theatre.

Now wouldn’t a full house make for a fitting send-off?


Singing for spring

Recently, during the brief spring thaw a week or so back, I was soaking up some rays on the deck when a red cardinal started to serenade me from a nearby TV antenna.

Alas, the moment was short-lived, and a couple of days later I was buying a tarpaulin to protect our fig tree from an ice storm. I haven’t heard the cardinal since.

But hope springs eternal and by the time Windsor Symphony performs its pair of Point Pelee Celebration concerts, April 28 and 29, the songbird may return.

Those concerts, by the way, celebrate the 100th anniversary of Leamington’s Point Pelee National Park, and feature music by Respighi, Haydn, and Canadian composer Marian Mozetich.

The Respighi work is titled Gli uccelli (Italian for The Birds), and was based on 17th and 18th century melodies by a variety of composers. Each of the five movements simulates birdsong, although none, unfortunately, a cardinal.

The Saturday show inside the park is already sold out, but you can still get tickets for the Sunday matinee concert at Heritage Auditorium (formerly Assumption Chapel) in Windsor.


Song and dance

The final performance of the 2017-18 season of 4th Wall Music, under director Amy Lee, is Sunday, April 22, at 4 p.m., at Mackenzie Hall. Joining the talented chamber group will be dancers from HNM Dance, one of the enduring attractions of Windsor’s cultural scene.

Tickets are $20 adults, $10 students, and $5 for children 12 and under. You can purchase them online at 4thwallmusic.org, or a Biblioasis.

The intriguing program ranges from tangos by Astor Piazzola to classical melodies by Brahms.



Fado forever

Carlinda and I recently returned from a five-week trip to Europe, which included 10 days in Portugal. It was our first visit there and our first encounter with Fado.

This folk music that originated in the 18th century is part-confessional, part-lover’s lament. It lends itself to performances in intimate clubs or small restaurants. We took in two performances, one in Lisbon and the other in Lagos.

I have become an instant fan of Fado’s lyrical intensity and the virtuosity of its performers. If anyone knows where we can hear it live in our neck of the woods, let me know.